A house bid for Kirk land in an Angus village has failed for the second time in an unholy row stretching over eight years.
In 2014, locals in Barry, near Carnoustie, railed against the application for a three-bed home on the site of the former village church hall.
They won the day when Angus planners said it should be knocked back.
And an appeal against the ruling was then rejected by councillors.
Now, eight years’ later, another attempt to secure permission for the 600 square metre site has failed.
But it was a narrow outcome after councillors were split by just a single vote.
Site of old church hall
The site is on the corner of Main Street and Mill Road. Barry graveyard is on elevated ground above it.
It was once the site of the church hall, but the dilapidated building was knocked down decades ago.
Locals then tidied up the site, creating what has become known to many as the Barry rest garden.
They created borders and a path leading through the site and up to the cemetery.
A community buyout plan was mooted in 2018 but didn’t happen.
Arbroath firm S&R Developments want to put a two-storey house on the corner site.
But there were almost 30 local letters of representation – 20 of them objecting to the proposal.
However, Barry Parish Church say the community has forgotten the land belongs to the kirk.
“The ground is not even and should not be considered as a play area for children,” they said.
“Church members and families, and the community payback team do some work in the garden.
“Our members are ageing, as are community residents and the current low level of upkeep may not be sustainable in the future.
“There is an ongoing risk that residents overlook the fact that the site belongs to Barry Parish Church.”
And Angus planners blocked the attempt for the second time.
They said the idea of putting a house on protected open space breached council policy.
The applicants challenged the delegated refusal and the bid came before Angus development management review committee on Monday.
Arbroath councillor Alex King said: “I looked at this very carefully and it was all strangely familiar.
“This was considered by the DMRC in 2014 and I find nothing has changed.
“People should learn from their mistakes in the past.
“This was never going to get permission so I don’t know why they bothered.”
But Mr King’s Montrose SNP colleague Bill Duff viewed things differently.
“I disagree entirely,” he said.
“The reasons for objection are entirely spurious.
“It’s a pretty unsightly piece of ground and the suggestion it’s been adopted by the community seems a bit fanciful.
“This belongs to the Church of Scotland – that doesn’t give the public the right to say it’s their land.
“The idea open space might be needed for the public to congregate might be relevant in a town, but not in a small village like Barry.
“It’s brownfield land, it’s not being well used and it’s a bit of an eyesore.”
The committee dismissed the appeal by three votes to two.